Gaza (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Sharing tips for cooking perfect pasta is nothing more ordinary for Gabriele Rubini. But this week, this Italian chef innovated: it was to prisoners in the Gaza Strip that he gave cooking lessons.

Known as Chef Rubio, Gabriele Rubini teaches ten prisoners his cooking secrets during a ten-day stay in the Palestinian enclave under an Israeli blockade, organized with an Italian NGO.

"My goal is to share with them everything I know and I also want to learn from them," he told AFP. "It is all a question of sharing food," he adds, welcoming a "mixture of cultures" around the Mediterranean.

Defender of the Palestinian cause, Mr. Rubio explained that he worked in the prisons because "it is a place where there is a lot of humanity".

"Someone can make a mistake and can be reborn in prison and become a better person in the outside world," said the chief, who has 750,000 followers on his Facebook page.

Governed by the Islamist movement Hamas, a movement that has waged three wars in Israel since 2008, the Gaza Strip is a Palestinian territory of two million inhabitants under Israeli blockade and plagued by endemic unemployment, around 50%.

For Sami Baraka, an inmate who, like his comrades, is serving a sentence for non-violent crimes, Chef Rubio's workshop is a "great opportunity".

And Sami started dreaming about what he would do when he was free. "I'm going to open my Italian restaurant in Gaza," he says determinedly.

© 2020 AFP